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Maine House Democrats nominate Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross for House Speaker

Talbot Ross is poised to become the first Black woman to serve in this role in Maine.

AUGUSTA, Maine — History was made Thursday in Augusta as House Democrats nominated Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, to serve as the next Speaker of the House. Talbot Ross is poised to become the first Black woman to serve in this role in Maine. 

"I am not the only one making history. We all are making history. I'm proud of my state, I'm proud of my colleagues, and I cannot wait to get out there and get to work," Talbot Ross said in an interview following the House Democrats leadership caucus.

Talbot Ross is beginning her fourth consecutive term in Maine House of Representatives, and previously severed as Assistant House Majority Leader.

Talbot Ross is a ninth-generation Mainer. Her father, Gerald Talbot, made history become Maine's first Black legislator when he was elected to the House in 1972.

Rep. Ed Crockett, D-Portland, also was nominated to become Speaker of the House.

In addition to nominating Speaker of the House, Democrats also elected Rep. Maureen Terry, D-Gorham, to be the House Majority leader and Rep. Kristen Cloutier, D-Lewiston to serve as Assistant Majority Leader.

A final vote for Speaker of the House will be taken by the entire House of Representatives when the Legislature convenes for swearing-in day on Dec. 7.

Talbot Ross said the democratic caucus has not yet met to determine official priorities for the 131st Legislative Session. 

"I'm deeply humbled, and I'm honored to be able to work on behalf of the people of Maine, to be able to share the leadership with my Republican colleagues in leading the House, to join President Jackson in the Senate, and to support Gov. Mills in moving forward her agenda over the next four years," Talbot Ross said.

Sen. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, watched the proceedings from the hallway outside of the House chambers. He said Talbot Ross's nomination is historic, and he could not be happier for his longtime friend.

"This is a day we will never forget. And I believe that the young people in the state of Maine now have something to look up to, so they can strive to achieve the highest levels of government here in Maine. So I'm proud for the people of the state," Hickman said.

On Monday, House Republicans held a leadership caucus, electing Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, to serve as House Republican Leader and Rep. Amy Arata, R-New Gloucester, to serve as Assistance House Republican Leader.

Maine Senate Democrats unanimously voted to re-elect Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, last week. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, was elected to serve as Senate Majority Leader, and Matthea Daughtry, D-Brunswick, was elected to serve as Assistant Senate Majority Leader.

Last week, Republicans also held a leadership caucus. In the Senate, Sen. Trey Stewart, R-Aroostook, was elected to serve as Senate Republican Leader. Lisa Keim, R-Oxford, will serve as Assistant Senate Republican Leader.

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